End of German energy storage funding will see market drop 13% in 2016

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EuPD Research has found that over half of the new small-scale solar PV systems installed in Germany in the last two years have either already been coupled with energy storage systems, or will be in the future.

A spokesperson tells pv magazine between 15,000 and 16,000 solar+storage systems will be installed in 2015, up from around 9,000 in 2014, and around 5,000 in 2013. "About 1,000 to 1,500 of this year’s installations we attribute to the pull effect arising from the end of KfW funding next year," they say.

According to EuPD Research’s fifth EndCustomer Monitor, of the survey participants considering installing a solar PV system, just 20% are not interested in adding storage. High costs and small profits were cited as main reasons. "These concerns might increase in light of the expiring KfW funding," says the research company.

"The issue of the funding is obviously much discussed these days. Our head of economics Mr. Martin Ammon has calculated that in 2016 storage market growth will drop to 13 per cent," adds the spokesperson.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics informed pv magazine on November 6 the KfW-storage program, introduced in 2013 to incentivize distributed battery storage in the country, would expire on December 31, 2015, since the objective of reducing costs to make the solar+battery storage more interesting to consumers had "been achieved."

Knock-on effects

A further effect of the expiring subsidies is an expected end of year rush from those looking to profit from the scheme, says the EuPD Research spokesperson, and a lowering of solar PV system prices by manufacturers, to stimulate demand. They add that average net capacity storage prices are €919/kWh net capacity for lead systems, and €1,490/kWh net capacity for lithium ion systems; while average net system prices in Q4 are €1,491/kWp for a crystalline solar PV system between 3 and 10 kWp.

The development of Germany’s energy storage market "depends" on the PV industry and future installations, continues EuPD Research in a statement released. This is particularly highlighted in the fact that the retrofit market, where storage can be added to existing solar PV installs, is relatively small.

"So far retrofit is not very attractive because older PV system benefit from a rather high FiT which is guaranteed for 20 years following installation," explains the spokesperson. "Adding storage to those systems so far will only reduce the return on invest."

2021 is expected to see a "sharp rise" in the retrofit market, when the FIT expires for many systems, they add. "Storage will thus rely on new installations of PV systems for quite a while. Those who do install retrofit systems are primarily governed by motives of autarky."